I love Saturdays; and this one was perfect.
The phone rang on Friday night and Peter's deep voice at the other end, said, "Hi Mom, are you folks going to be around tomorrow?" Having established that we would be, Peter asked if he could come over for breakfast with the children so that Sue and R.J., her dad, could work on Peter and Sue's bathroom.
Saturday morning dawned cold and gray outside, but inside the smell of bacon mingled with the aroma of coffee, and pancakes on the griddle.
Their silver Honda Odyssey pulled into the driveway just as the last pancakes were coming off the griddle and soon four little pairs and one big pair of feet were mounting the steps inside the front porch. "We're here," called Stephen as they tumbled into the house, shedding shoes, coats and bags of belongings as they did.
Brenda came upstairs and joined us, adding to the riches around the table. The pile of pancakes and bacon vanished into hungry stomachs and just as squirmy bottoms were leaving their chairs, I said, "Wait, don't go yet, I have presents!"
The presents were just little things that I brought back from my recent trip to England; small things that said, "I was thinking of you," but to my delight, each child loved their little gift.
Emily was the first to open the bag containing her gift. The bag said, "Rijksmuseum Amsterdam," and inside was a book that I had bought in the airport in Amsterdam on my way to England. The moment I saw it I knew that it would be Emily's gift, The Cow Who Fell in the Canal, by Phyllis Krasilovsky.
The beautifully illustrated, whimsical story was written in 1958 and is about a cow named Hendrika who falls into a canal and manages to pull herself onto a raft that takes her into the city, where she has one adventure after another and sees many things that she had never seen before. Through the story and illustrations, a child would learn much about the countryside and city in Holland and I thought that it would be a delightful way to share the Dutch culture that is part of our heritage, with a grandchild.
Emily promptly put the book under her arm and carried it around with her. It was obvious that she was very happy with it. I offered to read it to her, but Brenda cried, "No, let me!" Well, Brenda reads a child's story like no one else, so I was happy to defer to her talents.
Emily was captivated by the pictures, especially the one of Hendrika falling into the canal.
"Her bum is red," she said.
"Her bum is red," she said.
Brenda said, "That's not her bum, that's her udder."
"Her udder bum," said Emily.
Brenda explained that the udder is where the cow's babies get their milk from.
"Oooh, that's gross!" said Emily.
Peter decided that the whole thing was "udderly ridiculous."